Home > Environment, Government, Health > Bee-harming pesticides escape proposed European ban.

Bee-harming pesticides escape proposed European ban.

By   Friday 15th, March 2013.    Find Full Article Here:-

Commission proposal to suspend use of neonicotinoids fails to gain majority, but could still be enforced by appeals committee.

Rally calling on the EU to ban the use of bee poisons and other pesticides in Brussels

A member of NGO Avaaz holds a placard next to a giant inflatable bee during a demonstration calling on the EU to adopt a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

A European attempt to ban the world’s most widely used insecticides that have been linked to serious harm in bees has failed.

The European commission proposed a two-year suspension of neonicotinoids after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) deemed their use an unacceptable risk, but major nations including UK and Germany failed to back the plan in a vote on Friday.

The result leaves environmental campaigners, scientists and some politicians bitterly disappointed.

“Britain and Germany have caved in to the industry lobby and refused to ban bee-killing pesticides,” said Iain Keith, at campaign group Avaaz. “Today’s vote flies in the face of science and public opinion and maintains the disastrous chemical armageddon on bees, which are critical for the future of our food.”

The chemical companies that dominate the billion-dollar neonicotinoid market, Bayer and Syngenta, were relieved. Syngenta chief operating officer, John Atkin, said: “We are pleased member states did not support the EC’s shamefully political proposal. Restricting the use of this vital crop protection technology will do nothing to help improve bee health.”

A Bayer spokesman, describing the company as a “responsible corporate citizen” said: “The EC has relied too heavily on the precautionary principle, without taking the principle of proportionality into account.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs defended the UK’s abstention: “Bee health is extremely important but decisions must be based on sound scientific evidence and rushing this through could have serious unintended consequences both for bees and for food production. We are not opposing the EU’s proposals. But as we do not have the evidence yet it is impossible for us to vote either way.”

But Prof Dave Goulson, at the University of Stirling and who led one of the key studies showing that neonicotinoids harm bumblebees, told the Guardian: “The independent experts at EFSA spent six months studying all the evidence before concluding there was an unacceptable risk to bees. EFSA and almost everybody else – apart from the manufacturers – agree this class of pesticides were not adequately evaluated in the first place. Yet politicians choose to ignore all of this.”

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